Conductor John Eliot Gardiner pulls out of future engagements after allegedly hitting a singer

LONDON (AP) — Prominent classical music conductor John Eliot Gardiner is pulling out of all engagements until next year after allegedly hitting a singer backstage following a concert. The British conductor said in a statement on Thursday that he was stepping back to obtain “the specialist help I recognize that I have needed for some time.” His agency, Intermusica, said he “deeply regrets his behavior” and will get counseling. The 80-year-old Gardiner allegedly hit William Thomas after the bass singer left the podium on the wrong side after a performance of Berlioz’s opera “Les Troyens” at a festival in France. The Grammy-winning conductor said he was “heartbroken to have caused so much distress.”